Situated on the southern Moroccan coast and lapped by the Atlantic Ocean, Agadir is a phenomenally popular destination for those in search of sun, sea and sand. The city has a population of almost 250 000, swelled by migrant labourers from the rural hinterland and tourists – up to half a million fly here annually. Crucial for the Moroccan tourism industry, Agadir is a modern city a world away from the traditional villages and medieval cities found elsewhere in the country.

500 years ago, Agadir was a small Portuguese trading post called Santa Cruz do Cabo de Gué. A few decades later, in 1541, the city came under the control of the Wattasid Dynasty, who built a fortified stronghold overlooking the bay. Agadir prospered but drew little attention from the outside world until 1911, when a German gunboat was stationed here. This brought about the Agadir Crisis which led to the Treaty of Fes and the partition of Morocco into Spanish and French protectorates. In 1960 Agadir hit the headlines for even more tragic reasons – at midnight on February 29th, the city was annihilated by a huge earthquake. At least 15,000 people died and the city lay in ruins. For a newly independent nation, the devastation of Agadir was an opportunity to embrace modernity. The city was rebuilt as a showcase of the new Morocco, with high rise hotels to accommodate the European visitors brought by the mass tourism of the 1960s.


Most people come to Agadir for the sunshine and it's hard to deny that the beach is fantastic. Acres of golden sand are on offer, as well as watersports like windsurfing and jet-skiing for those not content to simply soak up the sun. Beware of strong currents, however, if you're intent on swimming.

Seaside aside, Agadir has a few interesting museums to visit. The small Municipal Museum is situated on Boulevard Mohammed V and the Museum of Berber Art, on Passage Ait Souss, has a lovely collection of traditional objects and artworks. Next door, housed in the municipal theatre, is the Bert Flint Museum. This is a collection assembled by an art historian from the Netherlands comprising clothing, jewellery and musical instruments from the nearby Souss valley and the Saharan fringe.

After the 1960 earthquake, what remained of the old city of Agadir was razed and buried. You can visit the site but nothing more than a small memorial garden now identifies it. The 16th century kasbah – a high-walled, defensive building – does still stand, however, and is well worth a visit. There are great views from the hilltop site on which it stands. It's about 8km out of town - to get there, take a taxi.

The high-rise hotels of Agadir are a world away from the villages of the Moroccan interior. It's worth making the effort to drive inland. Within a few hours, you can find yourself in the Anti-Atlas mountains, among argan trees, goatherds and mud-brick dwellings. A popular trip is to Immouzer des Ida Outanane via Paradise Valley, filled with date palms. Immouzer has fabulous waterfalls and groves of apple, almond and olive trees as well as oodles of clean, fresh mountain air. Another scenic drive from Agadir takes you to the laid-back coastal town of Essaouira – a peaceful place where you'll find whitewashed houses, fishing boats and art galleries.


For crafts, head for Boulevard Hassan II and Avenue Prince Moulay Abdallah, where a number of shops are located. At the central market, the Marché Municipal, there's a wide range of fresh produce and souvenirs – but with such a steady stream of wealthy tourists, you'll have to haggle hard with the vendors to get a good price! More authentic is the souk, where the shoppers tend to be local. If you're really keen, take the free minibus from the city centre to the Medina D'Agadir – a village built exclusively for craftsmen, where you'll find everything from carpets to candles. Look out for local honey and argan oil, extracted from nuts grown in the Anti-Atlas mountains.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Agadir caters for tourists from all over the world, so you will find international cuisine to suit all tastes. The standard of food in the hotels is generally good and the stand-alone restaurants are mainly concentrated in the New Talborjt area of the city. For fresh fish and seafood – after all, you're on the Atlantic coast! – try Le Nil Bleu on the beachfront. Le Miramar in the hotel of the same name is the place to go for a special meal. It's expensive by Moroccan standards but the food is delicious and well presented and the atmosphere is classy.

All the tourist hotels offer entertainment in the evenings. Discos stay open beyond 4am during the peak season, and often don't get going until midnight. Three of the hotel clubs are particularly lively – Dreams, Flamingo and Papagayo. The Hotel Ramada Almohades is one of several hotels with a cabaret show, and if you fancy a night of roulette or blackjack head for Shem's Casino d'Agadir on Avenue Mohamed V – it's open until 6am.

Tourist Information

Office du Tourisme (O.N.M.T)80 000 AgadirImmeuble APlace Prince HéritierSidi MohammedTelephone: 00 212 28 84 63 77Email: []


Agadir is served by the Al Massira Airport, located 25km east of the city. The airport has shopping facilities, a café and restaurant. Taxis are available outside the terminal, and drivers often accept foreign currency. Prices are fixed - 150 dirham to the city centre (200 dirham after 19:00). There is no direct bus service, although you can catch local bus number 22 and change vehicles in Inezgane.

BA operate a weekly flight from London Gatwick to Agadir. Charter flights are available from Gatwick or Manchester.